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In the Highest Degree OdiousDetention without Trial in Wartime Britain$
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A. W. Brian Simpson

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198259497

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198259497.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 April 2021

Fascism and the Fears of 1940

Fascism and the Fears of 1940

(p.115) 7 Fascism and the Fears of 1940
In the Highest Degree Odious

A. W. Brian Simpson

Oxford University Press

Why did the British Union (BU) seem so threatening that it was singled out for suppression in May 1940? Any answer requires some explanation of the history of fascism in Britain, more particularly because the terms ‘fascist’ and ‘fascism’ are so commonly used today as mere terms of abuse. If we identify fascists as people committed to certain political programmes, one such programme was the creation of a corporate state. This was central to Italian fascism; in Britain a principal exponent was Alexander Raven-Thomson. Sir Oswald Mosley adopted the idea, though he later partly repudiated it. Corporatism appeared in the party constitution of 1938: ‘The name of the Movement is the British Union and the faith of the Movement is the National Socialist and Fascist creed. The object of the British Union is to win power by votes and thereby to establish in Great Britain the Corporate State’. But John Keegan argues that Adolf Hitler, to many a paradigm case of a fascist, had little interest in the matter.

Keywords:   British Union, Britain, fascism, Adolf Hitler, Oswald Mosley, corporatism, fascists

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